Email clichés we love to hate. And why.

Do you sometimes groan when you open an email and find it starting or finishing with a cliché that may be well-meant, but comes across as being as genuine / friendly as a cornered rat? And that’s just in your day-to-day eCorrespondence. It gets even better when it’s spam.

Email cliches we love to hate. And why.

Friend, foe, or someone trying to sort out my penile erectile dysfunction

In this run up to the Holiday Season when we’re focusing less on hard-nosed business and more on its lighter (but nonetheless important) aspects…do you agree with the following? [Read more…]

Hi there email marketing! Welcome back

HTWB email marketing Aug-14Do the words, “owned content” resonate with you yet? If not, they should.

As I suggested in this article recently, posting your blogs and articles directly on to social media is at best risky – and at worst utterly brainless. What these new vibrations DO permit, however, is for us to take a long, hard look at our earlier means of bizcomms and why they are so valuable to us right now. [Read more…]

Why we all must LOVE our owned content

Blog,content,owned content,LinkedIn,SWAM,social media,websites,email,email marketing

Your blog isn’t worth risking on the social media unless you have tied it down as your “owned content” first

There has been a lot of talk recently about moves on the part of the SocMed to get people blogging for business more directly on their platforms, rather than on (or in addition to) their “owned content” – i.e. own blogs and websites, etc.

For example, LinkedIn rather snottily “invites” members on a selective basis to publish their blog posts directly to the LI platform. Now, if you got passed over by the gods who determined who should be the early invitees, if you’re a good kiddie you can “apply” to LinkedIn and seek permission to do this as an also-ran. Snooty, snooty.

(For a list of the top 10 most helpful articles on blogging for business as chosen by our readers, click here)

[Read more…]

The top 7 myths about writing business letters

business letters,writing,email,transactionsMuch as we focus hard on online communications now, business letters still have a serious role to play in our day-to-day lives. Despite the revolution that online communications have brought about, [Read more…]

The funniest spam recipes you’ll ever read

It’s well worth taking a look at your junk file from time to time – often the garbage in there is so awful it’s hilariously funny.

Take, for example, this spam email trying to sell me hair care products. After a few sentences about the product, here is what ensued, I assume spun by some robotic software to act as a filler and take my spam filter’s attention away from the sales spiel. I’m surprised my spam filter didn’t die laughing…

Continue in the center, and a dish. Cook the greatest importance.

LEEK SOUP Put a coffee-spoonful of onion, a pound of cornflour in a wooden spoon, will fry slowly in, sprinkling it into a thick sauce, or cold mutton. Let it will take a thin piece of a little mustard, a dish quickly with some small cabbages boiled eggs to simmer. Add at the bones, mixing very good beef, which you can be nearly two hours. If you need be, unless that you have begun at once. I give special point of the following way: Take the leaves. Let this sorrel, reduce that should call a brisk fire till it a dish some cold cooked green has taken place. Fill some butter or six eggs and round a hole in butter to soak in cold they are brown bread and wash some good white sauce is used.

FRIDAY’S FEAST Cook some lettuce plenty of minutes. Take a scrap of dried flour, then pass it through the meat, cook gently so as big lump of rounds of bacon, which is like it, two glasses of hard till you wish to boil. It should be added a calf’s liver, lard them gently salted, let them in cold milk; melt them cook again serve very well. Drop in dice, and onions, such as much attention to the cabbage and bay-leaves, a white sugar and make a boiled a powdering of lettuce, and mix these with pepper and it to a nice sweet is over. Put the eggs and stew them in a cup, adding to cover it about a little seasoning with milk and fry in tarragon vinegar and press it five inches from the tureen and also with the lid. When the vegetables do not minced. Add sufficient water and salt. Stir cheese-balls in the table and pour over the bechamel.

CAULIFLOWER SOUP (BELGIAN RECIPE) Take a bean and roll in as usual, and then, above and serve the inside yellow aspic, and arrange them through a small saucepan with the top with slices of chocolate that is done at my best; and breadcrumb some cold meat, bread, and fold over. Tomato Sauce: Brown an egg and the size of an egg. Add three or other liqueur. This sort of butter cook can bind the peas to suggest antennae. A good soup-spoonfuls of boiling milk. Bind the sieve and ham, pour over perfection. Put it for ten minutes, then your eggs are placed at the heat through. Serve when boiled, shell the frying-pan, also added it to use some white sugar over the oven, with a slice and remove the leaves. Scoop out the prunes are cheap in cold meat, and decorate with pepper and skin them, make a little soda in four, the boiling fat, or twelve ounces butter, and one-half inch thick, cut in butter; add a half pint of recipes for a moderate fire, and throw in boiling water. (etc.)

HORS D’OEUVRES The sugar 1 or lard. When the pan into pieces if they are tender, remove the sauce to have some potatoes, and then cover them in one half moon, so much liked by the oven, or in thin piece of a slice of the sauce shredded parsley, a chopped hard- boiled in. The water or boiled and pour the oven, or cook in a gentle oven and the soup a pound flour, put in hot fat. When ready, strain and let it rest for ten minutes. When set a white sauce over them decorated with some minced veal in the artichokes and add a little white pepper and half a bit of eggs, and can be inexpensive dish) Cook them, sprinkle chopped onions (already fried) and place a powdering of the dinner of butter in a pint of all the size of the cream, adding long sponge biscuits, but using the yolks of white sauce and of duck or you will be a sharp taste and plenty of two onions, add milk, pepper and add the whites of the butter melt one-half inch long; put in the fruit in salted water; a good as you add the salt. Butter a few raisins, some chopped parsley scattered at the cabbage, adding salt and dish and salt and butter over, and cut it the tongue or haricots to it in pieces if any cooked as you eat all with fresh fruit, raspberries, strawberries, portions of vanilla, and lid. When all bones and a little water. (etc.)

Who, but who, writes this sh*t?

Now: bite back and brush up your writing!

“How To Write About Yourself”…how to make the most of yourself, whatever you need to write

“Business Writing Made Easy”…everything you need to know about writing for business in English

“The English Language Joke book”…hundreds of laughs about this crazy language of ours

 

photo credit: Nomadic Lass via photopin cc
photo credit: cvander via photopin cc

How to get good text-based interviews for your blog or website

These days people are far too busy to take time out and be physically “interviewed” to provide quotes, information, testimonials, endorsements, etc. And apart from the fact that to obtain a live face-to-face interview with someone (especially someone famous) takes more organizing than a nationwide military coup, you’ll often find that the face-to-face variety isn’t all that good anyway.

How to get good text-based interviews for your blog or website

Want a good interview for your blog or website? Email the questions to your interviewee…

The answer?

Email them the questions.

This is not as simple as it sounds. People are a) busy and b) lazy, so if you want to get some good results you need to make it very, very easy for them to respond.

First, the practical bits

Naturally you need to establish that whoever you are to interview is happy with the arrangement. In the main you’ll find that the prospect of their being able to answer questions in their own time, when it suits them, without an interviewer breathing down
their neck, works for them much better than any other alternative.

Next, prepare your email carefully. Write it out with a short introduction or recap on what you have agreed, then place your questions below. Embolden each question individually; if you embolden all questions in one sweep the response will come back in bold, too, which may make it hard for you to decipher.

And the questions? (Not too many…)

Essentially these should be focused on the old journalistic principles of “who, what, where, when and how,” with appropriate modification. But here’s a warning; don’t overdo the number of questions. People are put off by a long list.

Let’s say you’re looking to obtain a good testimonial for a client (alter appropriately if the project is to get a testimonial for your own business). Here’s a list of questions from another article of mine which should give you a good spread of quotes, but select only 5 or 6 or them if you don’t want to scare your interviewee off:

  • What is it that you think makes XXX different from their competitors?
  • Just how much better than the competition do you feel XXX really is?
  • Why do you feel that XXX is more efficient than other, similar (whatever)?
  • How would you rate your experience of working with/using XXX?
  • Compared with their competitors, how do you rate your experience of working with/using XXX?
  • On a 1 to 10 scale, how would you rate your experience of working with/using XXX, and why?
  • What difference has using XXX made to your business’s/department’s performance?
  • What is it about XXX’s performance/service that makes the different?
  • What was it that made you choose XXX in the first place?
  • What was it that made you choose XXX instead of their competitors?
  • What was it that made you change from your previous (whatever) to XXX?
  • What additional benefits have you found through using XXX?
  • What are the three main benefits of working with XXX?
  • In summary, then, what would you say is the key benefit of working with XXX?
  • In summary, then, what difference has working with/using XXX made to your bottom line?
  • How important is it to you that you should work with/use XXX in the future?
  • What sort of future do you think XXX can look forward to?
  • If I were someone considering using XXX, what advice would you give me?

And for some more general questions?

When you’re doing an email interview with someone to obtain information that’s not necessarily an endorsement or testimonial, you need to research the topic a little bit more thoroughly and plan whatever it is you’re going to write, so that your email interview questions run alongside your plan and so lead to providing you with the information you need.

For example, let’s look at an email interview about the need for businesses to employ a truly professional recruitment agency: here are the questions I would ask of the recruitment agency head honcho for a blog post or article aimed at his/her potential clients:

1.To what extent do you feel that the recruitment process for managers is a continuous cycle, rather than a linear process?

2.What are the benefits to a client company of hiring a recruitment agency as opposed to setting up and internal recruitment function?

3.In your experience, what are the most important criteria for a client to consider when selecting a recruitment agency, in order of importance, and why?

4.How should a client company in this sector go about the process of selecting an agency?

5.At selection stage, what should the client company expect the agency to do in terms of research and information-seeking?

6.Once the agency is selected, what are the most important elements to incorporate into the formal appointment? (E.g. contract, T&Cs, length of agreement, timing of reviews, termination terms, etc., but especially anything over and above what a client company would ordinarily expect)

Assessing your results and using them

Much as people might tell you that interviewing by email doesn’t result in such thorough responses as you might get from the F2F variety, I disagree … not because I’m a bolshie cow, but because in my experience it just doesn’t work out that way.

Invariably the results I get from these emailed interview questions are good because a) the responses are relatively short and sweet which for contemporary online purposes is what we need, and b) the fact that people have time to think about what they’re going to respond with enables them to do it better than they would “off the cuff.”

Good luck with your email interviewing – it’s the way ahead, I’m sure!

Now, let’s write up those interviews perfectly:

“Business Writing Made Easy…everything you need to know about writing for business in English

“Banana Skin Words and how not to slip on them”…over 1,500 spelling and grammar tips to perfect your written English

“English to English: the A to Z of British-American translations”…more than 2,000 business and social terms from the USA, the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand

photo credit: Marco Bellucci via photopin cc

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